Week three and we have a few challenges met, a few questions answered and a few more raised. The Big 12 looks to be bunched with a small group that could truly win the conference. Another group that could play the role of spoiler, and a final group that can at least hope to beat up on eachother.
The South continues to look like the superior division and that's not a big surprise, but the amount of teams from the North that look like they could truly compete seems to be dwindling.
A slow week upcoming with plenty of bye's around the conference, but next Thursday a good one in Stillwater as the Cowboys play host to the Aggies of A&M.
How They Fared: 27-24 over Air Force
Week Four: Cincinnati Bearcats
Previous Ranking #1
Saturday's contest might have been closer than some would have like, but Air Force is a very solid team. They play disciplined, they have some talent and Troy Calhoun has the program moving in a very positive direction. It's a win for the Sooners against a quality opponent but perhaps a weakness has been exposed as OU allowed 351 yards rushing at a 5.6 yard per carry average.
How They Fared: 24-14 over Texas Tech
Week Four: UCLA
Previous Ranking #3
Offensively the Longhorns are still struggling a bit and the three interceptions thrown by Garrett Gilbert in his first start was a little concerning. But watching the Longhorn defense is pretty impressive. The Lonhorn defense is fast, they hit and they make plays. Tommy Tuberville and Tech were held to just 144 yards of offense including negative yards on the ground. That's a feat to accomplish against any fellow Big 12 team in their house. Another interesting item pointed out during the broadcast, Texas starts 12 freshman. Scary.
How They Fared: 56-21 over Washington
Week Four: South Dakota State
Previous Ranking #4
Everyone wants to point out how bad Washington was, I get that. But the fact is the Husker OFFENSE which was lambasted headed into the season produced 533 yards of offense and scored 56 points against a division one opponent. The offense ranks 8th in the nation through 3 games and while it's against inferior competition, the Huskers are handling business the way they should against those opponents.
4. Oklahoma State
How They Fared: 65-28 Over Tulsa
Week Four: Bye(Thursday September 30th contest against A&M)
Previous Ranking #6
722 yards from scrimmage! I don't care who you play, that's impressive. After losing some huge components of a fairly strong offense a year ago and changing coordinators, Mike Gundy and Oklahoma State have taken a leap forward and not a step back. Defensively it's hard to say if they have enough to make a real run at the top two in the South, but they should be able to compete with A&M. I guess we'll know soon as the Cowboys host the Aggies in about a week and a half.
5. Texas A&M
How They Fared: 27-20 over FIU
Week Four: Bye(Oklahoma State on Thursday Sept 30th)
Previous Ranking #2
Jerrod Johnson struggled, the Aggies turned the ball over five times and that was the great equalizer in this one. And while yes the Aggies did stuggle to put away a lesser opponent, they did find their stride in the fourth quarter and show why people like this team. An argument could be made for 4th, an argument could also be made for 6th, but I like them at five for now and next Thursday's game in Stillwater should be a fun one.
6. Kansas State
How They Fared: 27-20 over Iowa State
Week Four: Central Florida
Previous Ranking #8
Daniel Thomas is the real deal and the Kansas State offensive line gets a nice consistent push. Those two things are enough that Bill Snyder can coach em up and play at a little higher level than this team might really be. The Big 12 schedule isn't as forgiving as a season ago and that may play a factor, but this isn't your Ron Prince led K-State anymore that's for sure.
7. Texas Tech
How They Fared: 24-14 loss to Texas
Week Four: Bye
Previous Ranking #9
It wasn't a bad loss to Texas, only 10 points. But it was a bit of a sloppy game for Tech and for a program that has hung their hat on offensive production it was very disappointing. Now obviously I praised the Texas defense above so I have to give credit there and say that there will be plenty of teams that struggle offensively against the Longhorns. At the moment Tech looks like a good team, but not a team that looks prepared to compete at the same level it has in recent years down South.
How They Fared: 27-24 over San Diego State
Week Four: Miami of Ohio
Previous Ranking #5
The Tigers needed a miracle of a last second score to pull this one off. The Tigers defense once again looks average and turnovers made for an interesting game at Faurot Field. At the moment I still think the Tigers are better than most teams in the North, but they certainly aren't unbeatable and at this point Nebraska has to be the divisional favorite. I wouldn't discount Kansas State, Bill Snyder and Daniel Thomas who might just take care of business in Columbia as well.
How They Fared: 45-10 loss to TCU
Week Four: Rice
Previous Ranking #7
Baylor looked like Baylor on Satuday, but TCU is a very good team so that might have something to do with it. Starting with Baylor through the rest of the bottom four, these teams all have issues and on any given day a head to head is a toss up. Baylor's issues just seem to be a little less serious than the others.
10. Iowa State
How They Fared: 27-20 Loss to K-State
Week Four: Northern Iowa
Previous Ranking #10
The Cyclones dropped one to the Wildcats and stay at #10. I do feel like they are teetering though. Defensively they had some solid moments and their ground game looked good for the most part. But if Austen Arnaud has to throw the football it's most likely not going to the target. With a quarterback that can throw even a little, Iowa State wins this game. The fact is, the overthrown pass a year ago by Arnaud against Kansas that could have won the game in Lawrence is the norm and not the exception. This team is one dimensional, I'm just not sure the bottom two teams can stop that.
How They Fared: 31-16 loss to Southern Miss.
Week Four: New Mexico State
Previous Ranking #11a
A week three loss, but some positive signs. Just not enough of them to move higher than 11. Kansas is too inconsistent through three games and that's a concern. What bumps them ahead of Colorado is the simple fact that Kansas at it's best (Georgia Tech) is better than Colorado who may not have a best.
How They Fared: 31-13 over Hawaii
Week Four: Bye
Previous Ranking #11b
I'm just not sold on the Buffaloes. They looked as bad as ever in the first half against Hawaii and pulled together a solid second half thanks to the running game. But watching Cal get torched on Thursday night and watching Hawaii twice fail to score from inside the three just leaves me unconvinced. The Warriors should have been up 24-0 to start this one. If that happens, Colorado rolls over.
Players of the Week
Brandon Weedon -23/32 for 409 yards and 6 touchdowns before being pulled from the game. His backup? 8/11 for 165 and 2 TD's. That's better than what some starters put up this week in the Big 12.
Best Games of the Coming Week
Oklahoma vs. Cincy
Bad week for Big 12 football. You have to watch something I guess?
Baylor vs. Rice
Might be a chance to answer a few of the questions about Baylor. Rice is a decent program. Sort of?